Interview #61

Marco Basta

* The following text is an excerpt from an interview made in 2016. The original version is published in PANORAMA (DIORAMA editions).

Marco Basta (Milan, 1985) studied at Accademia di Brera (Milan). His work has been exhibited at Baco (Bergamo); Casa Testori, Galleria Monica De Cardenas, GAM, Gasconade and O’ (Milano; American Academy, Federica Schiavo Gallery and Fondazione per l’Arte (Rome); Galleria Civica di Valdagno (Valdagno); DNA projectbox (Venice); Galleria Monica De Cardenas (Zuoz).

How would you define your visual approach for readers not used to your work?

My approach is characterized by the search for simplicity, by images that manage to have a very clear and explanatory force able to speak to many, despite being essential. I try to steer my way of looking at a channel of this type while remaining always attracted by the distance, by a kind of ideological exoticism that describes potentially something that is before our eyes but that lives elsewhere, with another awareness and another character.

Your works are mainly based on the digital landscape, how has the emergency and dominance of technology in art influenced you?

Many of my drawings have a digital basis, they are created in Photoshop and then printed on more traditional papers, often belonging to the world of etching. I don’t know if it was art to influence this choice. We have technologies available and it is fair to use them.

Do you think that the understanding of digital work in art has changed since you started your practice?

Let’s say it definitely became a widespread language, not only at the level of technique, but just as proper research throughout the world that the digital brings with it. I repeat that mine is a choice of means, not an ideological one.

You re-contextualized the gardens for quite a long period in your previous work. How did your interest in this field begin?

During a trip to Japan. In Kyoto I visited the Zen temples : those gardens are not real, they are pure fiction. Yet everything looks simple and reassuring, so it seems that the monks are saying “don’t worry about the outside, look at how good you feel here inside this fence”. I’m fascinated by deciding where that branch will fall or the gradation of color that a certain moss should have. It means to humanize them. A maniacal attention to individual leaves, needles, it’s like drawing. It’s no longer Nature, but the idea of Nature.

During the creative process, is the idea or the execution more important?

As Luciano Fabro said, the creative process is seventy percent a question of character, twenty percent a question of capacity, one percent a matter of imagination and then the remaining nine per cent we can put whatever we want.

Gasconade was an important place for the formalization of a new generation of Milanese artists, what did this place mean to you?

Gasconade was a very strong collective push. It produced circulation of ideas and images, gave structure to a necessity; it risked a lot and allowed some people to risk. Gasconade was a way of thinking, and I believe it had a lot of strength. With Gasconade I realized that my works could be together in a certain way and they could talk out loud. Gasconade’s intelligence was also to understand that such a project could have great strength if limited to a certain period of time. And what’s left are the bonds. If an experience is able to create connections, then I believe it has gone down the right path.

What influence has Milan on you?

The ties always keep you in one place. Right now I think these connections to have an influence on my stay in Milan, on my wandering, going out. A sort of rhythm has been created that I now gladly listen to. The friends I hang out with are often artists and places may be various. During the summer I hang out at the Circolo Dei Combattenti a lot for example, for a ping pong match.

How did you discover the area where your studio is? How does the neighborhood affect your daily routine?

It is a discovery of Andrea Romano, the remainder was made by the very tempting price of rent. So we didn’t exactly choose that area. The neighborhood is very, let’s say, bare, suburban, industrial, railway area. There’s one coffee shop only and not even very close, and it’s the same bar where I usually have lunch. There aren’t many distractions, that leads to staying in the studio and concentrating.

The contemporary artistic practice can be perceived as a relatively lonely experience, in which way does sharing the studio with an artist (Andrea Romano) influence you?

Sharing the studio means sharing your workspace, your imaginary, it’s often positive because it creates something I personally need a lot, the office atmosphere. That is a place of real work. In this mood, we can speak of influence because it creates by necessity a continuous exchange of opinions and points of view. Then the influence may be the look that solves a doubt, the word which surpasses the uncertainty or the experience that you lack. Loneliness is not good. To me the sharing also means going to eat a sandwich at Terry’s place together, that is a great thing.